As recently reported by Bloomberg news, shoppers are fleeing Walmart for rivals in large part due to massive cuts in staffing leading to a shortage of stock support…which in turn leads to empty shelves. According to one shopper interviewed,
If it’s not on the shelf, I can’t buy it,” she said. “You hate to see a company self-destruct, but there are other places to go.”
It’s not as though the merchandise isn’t there. It’s piling up in aisles and in the back of stores because Wal-Mart doesn’t have enough bodies to restock the shelves, according to interviews with store workers. In the past five years, the world’s largest retailer added 455 U.S. Wal-Mart stores, a 13 percent increase, according to filings and the company’s website. In the same period, its total U.S. workforce, which includes Sam’s Club employees, dropped by about 20,000, or 1.4 percent. Wal-Mart employs about 1.4 million U.S. workers.
When will companies learn that making decisions with an eye only on the immediate benefit to the balance sheet (and by extension, the shareholders) is rarely what’s best for the long-term health of the company? It’s odd for a corporation the size of Walmart to neglect the very basics of retailing such as having product available for customers, but this is the world we now live in, where “growth” and artificial savings take the place of the bedrock principles held by founder Sam Walton. Time will tell if they can right this ship before Target and Costco make irrevocable gains. Go check out the full article to read the rest of Walmart’s woes.